EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle stressed the incompatibility of membership in the Customs Union with the signing of the agreement on a deep and comprehensive free trade area with the EU.

He stated this during his speech at the European Parliament in the framework of the debate on Russian pressure on countries of the "Eastern Partnership".

"It is true that the Customs Union membership is not compatible with the DCFTAs which we have negotiated with Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia. This is not because of ideological differences; this is not about a clash of economic blocs, or a zero-sum game. This is due to legal impossibilities: for instance, you cannot at the same time lower your customs tariffs as per the DCFTA and increase them as a result of the Customs Union membership," the commissioner said.

He stressed that in order to take advantage of a deep and comprehensive free trade, partner countries should be independent in determining its trade policy, which is impossible within the framework of membership in the Customs Union.

He emphasised that AA/DCFTAs are not conceived at Russia's expense. Moreover, the commissioner said that these agreements should contribute in the long term to the eventual creation of a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok.


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